HC Deb 29 November 1928 vol 223 cc599-601

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the advertisements issued by the Canadian Government in the Press with a view to stimulating the payment of Income Tax; and whether he will cause inquiries to be made as to the effect of the advertisements on the speedier payment of the tax and adopt the system in this country?


I have seen one or two of the advertisements in question, but I am advised that it would be unsuitable to adopt any such system in this country where the conditions of assessment and collection are very different and where so far as I am aware no fault has been found with the Revenue authorities for failing to remind taxpayers of their liabilities.


Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that it is a pleasanter method, and that the advertisement in question makes payment of Income Tax seem almost attractive?


It is not only a question of whether it is pleasant, but whether it is effective.

67. Colonel WOODCOCK

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount received during each of the last five years in connection with the purchase of stamps for Income Tax; and whether he will take steps to make this method of payment more widely known.


The amounts received during the last five years in respect of sales of Income Tax stamps have been as follow:

1923–24 149,579
1924–25 140,777
1925–26 121,095
1926–27 99,679
1927–28 96,326

As regards the last part of his question I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Hore-Belisha) on the 16th February last. I am sending him a copy of that reply.

68. Colonel WOODCOCK

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that it is the practice of Income Tax authorities to use their powers to compel solicitors to divulge to inspectors details of their clients' incomes; and, in view of the fact that the solicitors have to violate the confidence reposed in them by their clients, will he take steps to amend Section 103 of the Income Tax Act of 1918?


I have no reason to think that the Income Tax authorities are using in an unreasonable manner the powers which are given to them by Section 103 of the Income Tax Act, 1918. Those powers are necessary for the proper administration of the Income Tax, and I do not see my way to propose an amendment of the Section in the sense suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend.


Does it not occur to the right hon. Gentleman that it is very unprofessional for these solicitors to have to give away secrets? Has he received many complaints in regard to the matter?


I am not aware of any complaints which have been received. In any case, the powers which are being used are statutory.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the fact that in future a single return is to be made for Income Told Super-tax, he will consider the possibility of delegating the powers of assessment and collection of both taxes to the commissioners, in order to effect economies by progressively reducing the staff of special commissioners at York House?


No, Sir. The present system offers obvious advantages in administration, and the change suggested would not lead to economy; nor, I am advised, would it be acceptable to the majority of taxpayers.